Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday approved the use of PAVA shells, a chilli-based non-lethal munition, to control violent protesters.
The development comes ahead of an all-party delegation’s visit to Kashmir for peace talks with all stake-holders in the Valley.
The expert panel, set up by the Home Ministry to find an alternative to pellet guns, had zeroed in on ‘PAVA shells’, a chilli-based ammunition, which is less lethal and immobilises the target temporarily.
ALSO READ: 5 Things You Need To About PAVA Shells
The committee held a demonstration of the newly-developed shells at a test field earlier in August this year and gave the thumbs up for use by security forces for crowd control and during protests like those being witnessed in the Kashmir Valley in place of the pellet guns which have caused grievous injuries and large-scale blinding.
The ‘PAVA shells’, as per the blueprint prepared in this regard and accessed by news agencies, were under trial for over a year at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory in Lucknow, and its full development has come at a time when Kashmir is on the boil.
Sources close to the committee said it has favoured ‘PAVA shells’ as an alternative to pellet guns and has recommended that the Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) of the BSF in Gwalior should be tasked with bulk production of the shells “immediately”, with the first lot not of less than 50,000 rounds.